Diana Clock/The Hoya The Hoyas were unable to defeat the Boston College Eagles to move into the finals.

After an hour of strong play, the Hoyas men’s soccer team and their postseason hopes fell in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Big East regular season title holder Boston College on Friday.

“It was, pure and simple, a great game,” Head Coach Keith Tabatznik said.

On a clear, cool evening, 1,376 Big East soccer fans filled the stands of Yurcack Field in Rutgers Soccer Stadium in Piscataway, N.J., site of this year’s Big East semifinals and championship. Georgetown faced off against No. 14 Boston College earlier in Sept. in a regular season game, but Georgetown offered little resistance to the Eagles, who then vanquished the Hoyas 3-1. After alternating wins and losses, Georgetown eventually elevated its game and took the conference by storm with a 3-0-1 season-ending run that featured two exciting victories over Notre Dame, including a hard fought 0-0 tie against then top-ranked St. John’s and a 2-1 overtime win in the Big East quarterfinals.

The Hoyas entered into Friday night’s game with the same intensity that brought them success in the past three weeks, taking advantage of the torpid Eagles and attacking the opposing side’s net. Georgetown nearly succeeded in the 23rd minute when freshman forward Benjamin Jefferson-Dow crossed the ball through the box unscathed. After the Hoyas recovered on the far side of the goal, sophomore midfielder Trevor Goodrich received the pass and fired the ball toward the goal only to have graduate student goalkeeper Kyle Singer pull off an amazing save to keep Georgetown off the scoreboard.

“I thought that overall we had a little bit better of the game. The first half was all ours,” Tabatznik said.

The Hoya defense, led by Big East Rookie of the Year freshman defender Jeff Curtin, neutralized Boston College’s offense with great success for the entire first half, not allowing their opponents a shot on goal until midway through the first half. The Eagles defense also played strong, refusing to let Georgetown convert on any of its chances. Both team departed the field at halftime locked at 0-0.

Georgetown continued to dominate through the early part of the second half. Five minutes into the second half, sophomore midfielder Kaiser Chowdhry came tantalizingly close to netting the game’s first goal when, with the ball right in front of the goal, he wound up and fired. Unfortunately the ball veered right of the post. Chowdhry received another chance when the ball approached him outside the box, and he sent it hurtling toward the goal only to have it once again drift just right of the net.

By then Georgetown had reached its apex as Boston College surged toward the Hoya goal. In the 58th minute, junior goalkeeper Tim Hogan prevented the Eagles from gaining the lead with a sliding save of senior forward Casey Schmidt’s breakaway shot. The Eagles would return, however, and Schmidt dashed Georgetown’s hopes with a header goal off of a corner kick with 28:46 left on the clock.

“This game came down to one thing. They took advantage of an opportunity and we didn’t. It just came down to the chances. We had some quality chances that we didn’t put away,” Tabatznik said.

From then on, the Hoyas launched a strong counterattack, forcing the ball downfield into their rival’s territory. Their last chance to tie the game and force overtime came in the 83rd minute when junior midfielder Greg Freeburg launched the ball from five yards out, but Singer knocked it away and ended the Hoyas fortunes. A late goal from Boston College junior midfielder Kirt Dorsett sealed the victory for the Eagles.

Earlier that day UConn exacted revenge on St. John’s, who had beaten the Huskies in the regular season, in a thrilling game decided on penalty shots. UConn revived itself after a disastrous first half in which the Red Storm of St. John’s scored two goals while blanking their rivals. The Huskies persevered, though, and sent the game to two tense overtimes and eventually a shootout, which it won 6-5. Two days later, UConn would succumb to the Eagles in the finals as Boston College secured its third Big East Championship with a 3-2 triumph.

The Hoyas conclude their season 8-9-1, a letdown considering the skills they had shown in some high caliber games against demanding opponents. Early season losses and occasionally careless second halves hurt their record and cost them a trip to the NCAA College Cup. Two cancelled games against the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware also prevented the team from adding some potential wins to their season totals.

“I don’t think there’s any question that Georgetown soccer from mid-October and on was a top-20 team. Unfortunately you have to count before mid-October as well,” Tabatznik said.

The Georgetown team understands the sports truism that there is always next year. With only two players departing, the team has a chance to develop their talents and emerge as a top contender next year in the Big East. Curtin’s Rookie of the Year Award points to his emergence as a top player in the league and signals promise for the future. Jeff Curtin and his brother Jim, who played for Villanova and won the same award in 1997, became the first pair of siblings to accomplish such a feat.

“In my opinion Jeff was head and shoulders the top freshman in the conference. I think that was an easy decision for the conference coaches,” Tabatznik said

The possibilities abound for next season. Hogan, who demonstrated sparkling net play this year, and senior goalkeeper Brian O’Hagan will battle once again for time in front of the goal. Freshman forwards Jefferson-Dow and Kemmons Feldman will continue to stalk their opponents’ goals with support from a host of talented midfielders. While this young team took some time to mature, it is clear that the final Big East standings may look different at the end of next year.

“I think that the potential of this team is great. Over the next couple of years they can certainly challenge legitimately for a Big East title,” Tabatznik said. “Because of how they progressed by the end of this year they’ve set themselves up to be a great team. Now they’re not a young team anymore; they’ve learned from their experience.”

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